Thursday, September 19, 2013
SIMPLICITY IMPROVES YOUR WRITING STYLE BY RITA KARNOPP
Simple Words - There are times when we absolutely love a writer’s style. You should stop yourself and ask why? Let’s consider a few things that might make our writing better.
One lesson I learned early on – don’t use the thesaurus to show how truly intelligent you are. People will be impressed with your education and way with words. NOT! They rule I learned was one or two cleverly placed ‘big’ words in an entire novel.
What? You ask. Well, who likes to be written down-to? I know I don’t. If I’m reading a book that is fraught (burdened, full, filled, laden, loaded, best, charged) with words not commonly used – I won’t finish it. The writer is showing off and I don’t care diddly about the story.
Simple words—whether nouns verbs, or adjectives— are more inclined to have broader meanings and undertones. Complicated words have more specific meanings.
Deaded Long Sentences- I’m sure you’ve all noticed them – the long, long, long sentence separated by three or four commas, heck they are even a paragraph long, but if you look back, they truly are just one long, long, sentence. I’m exhausted just typing that! If you want to make your writing clearer – limit the use of long sentences. I’m not talking short choppy sentences, but I am saying a variation of medium and short sentences weaved together to tell your story without running out of breath.
It’s Redundant – Nothing annoys me more than reading the same information from two or even three different characters. I read it once, that’s all I need. If you must repeat information, introduce it into the conversation in a fresh way.
Active Voice is Stronger – We often hear comments about using active voice. For example, the sentence, “I love your style” is active voice. But, “Her style was loved by everyone” is passive and actually takes more words. In general, the active voice is stronger, flows better, and cuts the words.
Be Specific – We’ve all heard, even said the cliché, “don’t beat around the bush.” Well, that’s so true when you’re writing. Good writing gives the reader specific information so the reader doesn’t have to try to guess what is going on. They can concentrate on the story.